I remember the $5 examination fee - DVM
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I remember the $5 examination fee
Long story short, it's not coming back. Raise your fees—or face extinction in this new economic jungle


$100 examinations on the way

Late 2011 or early 2012 will begin an inflationary cycle that will see $100 examinations. The $50 intestinal parasite screens will hit the fan! As the dollar slides further and further against other currencies, our team members will need to buy $5 and $6 gas to get to work. If a technician job becomes available a few miles closer to their homes, loyalties will be forgotten and staff will abandon us. The American Automobile Association reports that out-of-gas roadside emergencies are up 18 percent. Don't expect that your payroll will be easy to control by Thanksgiving.

I don't expect transactions to sink too much further. Most of your economically defecting clients have left by now, but the rebound many have been hoping and praying for will be postponed yet again.

Many practices will benefit by absorbing clients from closing practices that failed to reduce their overhead prior to the looming inflation. Warren Buffett recently observed, "If you have to have a prayer session before raising the price by 10 percent, then you've got a terrible business." Before this year is out, you will know what kind of business you have.

Roughly 3,000 veterinarians get their fee schedules from me. At least half weren't charging their clients fees appropriate for their neighborhoods and only fearfully approached the increases that should have been easily implemented. Don't be afraid to increase fees, and don't be surprised when you do increase and the apocalypse you anticipated fails to arrive.

Are you surprised you have less to spend each month? Try matching distributors' invoices for the same products against last year's prices. The solo practice in the 800-square-foot strip-center practice—with low, low overhead—is the least effected by our downturn.

You have a choice now. You can increase your fees, or you can let your practice fail. You only have to listen to the dozen or more calls I get each day from veterinarians in trouble to know what to do.

Dr. Snyder, a well-known consultant, publishes Veterinary Productivity, a newsletter for practice productivity. He can be reached at 112 Harmon Cove Towers Secaucus, NJ 07094; (800) 292-7995;
; fax: (866) 908-6986.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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